Category Archives: Trade not Aid

Palestinians set to export from Gaza via Freedom Flotilla III

Exhibition of Palestinian products which were to be exported aboard Gaza's Ark last year, and which are now waiting for the Freedom Flotilla III to challenge the blockade once again.

Exhibition of Gaza's Ark products from all of Palestine, for export by Freedom Flotilla
Gaza City June 6-8.

When Gaza's Ark was destroyed during last year’s attack on Gaza by Israel, we all lost a boat intended to break the blockade “from the inside out". But our goal of helping to build a sovereign Palestinian economy based on freedom of movement has not changed. Palestinian products from both Gaza and the West Bank were to be exported not only as a symbolic stimulus to the Palestinian economy but to show the world the industrious work of craftspeople and farmers who continue to struggle against the overwhelming odds of occupation, economic strangulation and war.
Invitation to Gaza's Ark products exhibition, June 6-7-8, in Gaza City.

The Freedom Flotilla Coalition is now on its way to once again challenge the blockade of Gaza. The remaining goods that were to be exported by Gaza’s Ark are now to form part of the export cargo of the Freedom Flotilla when it reaches Gaza. To showcase these goods and highlight exactly what Israel was trying to stop by destroying Gaza’s Ark, Palestinian producers organizations are participating in an exhibition of export goods at the Red Crescent Hall (near Al Azhar University) in Gaza City, from June 6th to 8th, 11am to 6pm.

Sameera Qarmout, from one of the producers’ organizations at the exhibit, says: "Before it was attacked, we had the hope that our embroideries would be exported aboard Gaza's Ark. The coming Freedom Flotilla III has given us a light of new hope that our products will still be made available to world markets." The exhibit includes goods from Palestinian producers in Gaza as well as goods from West Bank producers that reached Gaza in spite of the Israeli Occupier’s restrictions: embroidery, wood carvings and olive oil.

Watch this video to both see some of the products that Israel barred from export and to hear first hand from Palestinians about what these goods mean to them. One of the West Bank artisans whose products are at the exhibition in Gaza stated: “My dream is to go to Gaza… we can go all over the world but we can’t go to Gaza – which says a lot about the situation”. This exhibition not only shows the world the tragedy of the ongoing separation of the Palestinian people imposed by Israeli policies in the occupied territories – in direct contravention of the Oslo accords – but also fosters connection between producers in the West Bank, Gaza and their customers around the world.

Organizations and individuals in Australia, North America and Europe purchased over $24 000 USD worth of Palestinian export goods via Gaza’s Ark, and new orders are still being placed, showing the confidence people have in the need for a Palestinian economy. Peter Downey (Chair, Bethlehem B&NES Links Ltd., Bath, England) adds: “We have bought goods from West Bank artisans as samples for a potential distributor of their products in the UK and Europe. This new sea route will be far less expensive than the courier system to which we are subject currently. It is vital for the economic development of the Palestinian State that there are trade routes by which they can export their goods."

The Israeli military did not just target Gaza’s Ark. It targeted the hope that Palestinians have for an economy based on their right to export their products from their own port, independently of the occupying power. As the Freedom Flotilla III as it sets its sights on economic freedom and social justice for the 1.8 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, follow our progress at and, and on Twitter:@CanadaBoatGaza @GazaFFlotilla @ShiptoGazaSE and @GazaArk   
For more information about this event, please contact product exhibitcoordinator for Gaza’s Ark, Awni Farhat at  (+972599838447, English, العربية). Regarding the role of Gaza’s Ark in the Freedom Flotilla III, contact David Heap (+15198593579, English, français, espagnol).
Facebook event:

MECA Distributes Local Food Packages

Four Hundred (400) Palestinian families in Gaza are receiving food packages made up of agricultural products produced in Gaza, thanks to the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) and Gaza’s Ark international solidarity network.

Israel’s 51 days of attacks on Gaza this past summer killed more than 2000 people, destroyed thousands of homes and apartments, damaged 75 hospitals and clinics, and caused millions of dollars of damage to farmland and civilian infrastructure. Currently more than 100,000 people in Gaza are displaced and an alarming 72% of households are considered food insecure by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Solidarity not Charity

This food distribution will include locally produced food products thereby directly benefitting both the local economy and families in need. Unlike goods which are15789701797_99f42949c7_o brought from outside Gaza, this distribution is not subject to permits or authorizations from the Israeli occupation, nor on the ‘charity’ of aid organizations.

MECA is distributing the food packages to 400 families throughout Gaza who are food insecure. The distribution will mobilize and empower grassroots organizations and local volunteers in Gaza to help their communities. MECA partner organizations in Jabalia, Khan Younis, Nuseirat, and Gaza City are assisting in identifying families who are in need and have been overlooked by larger aid efforts.

“This is an innovative and positive example of how people around the world can work in partnership to support Gaza,” says Dr. Mona El-Farra, a physician, activist, and Gaza Project Director for the Middle East Children’s Alliance. “Through this small aid effort, we are helping the local producers as well as needy families in Gaza. These families have been impoverished by decades of occupation and years of a tight blockade; many were also hit savagely by the latest Israeli offensive.”

This humanitarian relief helps support Palestinian farmers and agricultural cooperatives throughout the Gaza Strip who have been paid $14,000 for their maftoul (couscous), date products like awja, debes and makhtom, spice mixes of dugga and za’atar which are used in traditional Palestinian breakfasts, as well as honey and olive oil.

“The Gaza’s Ark project has helped Palestinian women’s co-operatives and eight local associations by making solidarity sales and promoting their products outside of Gaza's borders,” said Awni Farhat, products and endorsements coordinator for Gaza’s Ark. 

Salma Abu Mostafa from Abbassan Women’s Cooperative for Medicinal Herbs, one of the producers of the food products, added: “This project helped 67 women who work on their farms in the village of Abbassan to earn a bit of income and empower themselves in the community.”

Gaza’s Ark supporters from Europe, Canada, US and Australia paid for the food as part of an international solidarity campaign aimed at challenging the illegal blockade of Gaza. Individuals and organizations placed orders from Palestinian producers in Gaza and a fishing boat was being rebuilt in the port of Gaza to carry these exports to international markets. The boat was struck by Israeli shelling in July 2014 and destroyed along with thousands of Palestinian homes and other civilian structures. This attack put an end to the plans to sail against the blockade this year, but the international buyers agreed to donate the foodstuffs, originally purchased for export via Gaza’s Ark, to humanitarian relief efforts in Gaza.

Trade not Aid

Gaza’s Ark and MECA believe that the root causes of poverty and unemployment in Gaza cannot be addressed by humanitarian aid alone.

“The Gaza Strip has many high quality products which could compete in international markets, but we need the light of freedom,” emphasized Awni Farhat. “There is an urgent need for opened borders and the lifting of the Israeli blockade.” 

15973524971_3455cecf61_oIn order to enjoy the right to earn a livelihood, Palestinians in Gaza need the international community to guarantee their right to freedom of movement, including to trade freely throughout the region and the world.  While lifting the blockade remains Gaza’s Ark’s main objective, this cooperative effort with MECA shows how foodstuffs from Palestinian agricultural producers can help satisfy the immediate needs of Palestinian families and helps to build hope around the idea of a sovereign Palestinian economy.

“With this joint effort, we are sending a message to the world that what we need is our inalienable rights, not charity,” comments Dr. El-Farra of MECA.


Building hope: Palestinian producers receive payments for Gaza Ark exports

With their economy suffocated by the illegal Israeli blockade, Palestinians in Gaza suffer from massive unemployment, as well as ongoing Israeli attacks from air and sea. Economic strangulation is as deadly for Gaza as the renewed Israeli bombings. In recent days, however, we have begun to pay several producers for export goods sold to international buyers through Gaza’s Ark.

Syn Allois Cooperative, Terra Verde and Chania Immigrant Social Center support Gaza’s Ark

In the aftermath of the terrorist attack against Gaza's Ark, work to restore and let the Ark sail in autumn continues. Gaza's Ark will be loaded with products from Palestine, starting their voyage from Gaza's harbor to the people that have already ordered them.

In Greece the project is supported by hundreds of people from all over the country and especially from the island of Crete, who have made dozens of product orders in order to support Palestinian producers.

Israeli troops open fire at Gaza farmers harvesting wheat

GAZA CITY (Ma'an) — Israeli forces early Saturday opened fire at Palestinian farmers in the southern Gaza Strip, witnesses told Ma'an.

Locals said Israeli troops stationed in watchtowers near the village of Khuzaa east of Khan Younis shot at Palestinian farmers as they were harvesting wheat.

No injuries were reported.

Video: Gaza bees seek Egyptian nectar

Beekeepers in Gaza are reporting their best harvest in more than a decade.

The combination of fighting, urban development and disease had seen honey production drop dramatically but beekeepers have changed their strategy.

Alpa Patel reports for BBC.

Open Gaza’s seaport, end the blockade

Opening Gaza's seaport can provide Palestinians humiliation-free access to the world.

Hanine Hassan
Hanine Hassan is a PhD candidate at Columbia University. Her research focuses on the long-term effects of humiliation as a tool of oppression by Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

The nonchalance with which the West has been observing the slow decomposition of the Palestinian social fabric in Gaza in its eighth year of Israeli blockade amounts to a level of criminal complicity in the face of international law.

Aid convoy arrives in besieged Gaza Strip

By Ola Attalah, Monday, April 21, 2014

GAZA CITY – The Miles of Smiles 26 aid convoy arrived on Sunday in the besieged Gaza Strip through the Rafah border with Egypt, where it was received by Gaza's Deputy Foreign Minister Ghazi Hamad.

This is the convoy's first visit since February. The 35-member delegation – now conducting its 26th visit to Gaza – includes activists from the United Kingdom, Algeria and Libya, head of the convoy Essam Youssef told reporters.

Miles of Smiles 26 Breaks Gaza Siege

Wednesday April 16, 2014 by Chris Carlson
A governmental committee to break the siege in Gaza said that human right solidarity convoy ''Miles of Smiles 26'' is to reach Gaza next Sunday, via Rafah crossing, in the southern Gaza Strip.

Deputy Chairman of the Committee, Aladdin al-Battah pointed out that the convoy will be charged with humanitarian aid and medical materials for the hospitals in besieged Gaza, and will include more than 30 activists from Arab and European countries.

Israeli Siege Disrupts Projects Worth $19m

Friday April 11, 2014 20:42  by Chris Carlson – 1 of International Middle East Media Center Editorial Group.

Minister of Local Government Mohammed al-Farra said that the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip, since 2007, disrupted 21 projects in the fields of water and sanitation.

The projects were negatively affected due to the closure of the crossings with Gaza and the ban on entry of construction materials which are necessary to fulfill several halted projects, al-Farra clarified Thursday, according to Al Ray.